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Magickal Night Atop the Wizard's Mountain

Magickal Night Atop the Wizard's Mountain

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Oct 12, 2015 11:14 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Baosbheinn, Beinn an Eoin

Date walked: 04/10/2015

Time taken: 12 hours

Distance: 30 km

Ascent: 2000m

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After the disappointment of failing to scale Meall Dearg on Saturday I was a bit vexed about how the week would pan out. Sunday was a good forecast, but the remainder of the week promised increasingly heavy rain - not what I wanted for a trip into the Fisherfields. I'd been eying up this pair for a while - and our recent ascent of Beinn Dearg had given us a brilliant view of this dramatic pair of Corbetts - Hill of the Bird and the Wizard's Mountain. Originally I had planned to do them from the north, but a look at the map suggested they were just as easily tackled from the south - via Coire Mhic Nobaill - this would save us having to drive anywhere. I'd read Malky's description which suggested it was preferable to ascend the steep south slopes of beinn an Eoin rather than descend over the crags. The route plotted out at around 26km which seemed a bit of an ask for a shortish autumnal day given the roughness of the terrain, so I thought we should go prepared with a tent. I decided to spare Allison's shoulders given the demands of the week ahead, and loaded most of the kit into my rucksack - which meant taking the ultralight tent :lol:

We chatted to a guy who was off up Carn an Feola with his dog at the car park - he'd done lots of the hills in the area and seemed a real enthusiast. Headed off up the track towards Ben Alligin in lovely sunshine, Allison remarking that this was the third consecutive Sunday morning she'd been up this track - not a bad to spend a Sunday :lol: We reached the end of the track and crossed over boggy ground at the foot of Stuc Loch na Cabhaig towards Loch na Cabhaig. Ahead of us the pair of hills looked spectacular, stretching off on either side of Loch na h-Oidhche. Off to our left, Ben Alligin and her horns bore a striking resemblance to the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid, an impression not lessened by the bright sunshine on the sandstone. In the distance, Slioch crouched.

Setting off - Beinn Dearg ahead
ImageP1100585 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100588 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100590 by Al, on Flickr

Alligin - the Sphinx
ImageP1100593 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100596 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100599 by Al, on Flickr

We made towards Poca Buidhe, past Beinn Eighe on our right. Oh man - what scenery! There's some loss of height down to the Gorm Lochs, then we picked up the track that runs the length of Loch na h-Oidhche and up to Poca Buidhe - a notice stating this bothy was for estate use only and was monitored on CCTV. Up to our right rose the steep slabby slopes of Beinn an Eoin. Malky had gone up on the southernmost end, but that looked mental, so we opted for an easier route through the scree and boulders immediately behind Poca Buidhe. The ascent - although only about 450m was lungbusting, but redeemed by ever improving views of Baosbheinn as we gained height. We clambered to the summit and noticed a couple of other folk just beyond it - who should it be but BlackPanther and Kevin - I knew they had talked about being up this hill today, but we didn't expect to meet given they were ascending from the other side of the mountain. We chatted and took pictures then headed off along the long back of the hill together, following a good path until the northern end where the path becomes lost in slabs. Some care needed in picking a route through the slabs here, then down to the flat and boggy domain of Flowerdale Forest. We parted company at the track and headed for the Allt an Reidh-coire which we planned to follow up onto the crest of Baosbheinn.

Head on view
ImageP1100600 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Eighe
ImageP1100604 by Al, on Flickr

Ceann Beag
ImageP1100607 by Al, on Flickr

Poca Buidhe
ImageP1100608 by Al, on Flickr

Towards Baosbheinn
ImageP1100609 by Al, on Flickr

Hard work
ImageP1100610 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100613 by Al, on Flickr

Looking along Beinn an Eoin
ImageP1100616 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Eoin
ImageP1100620 by Al, on Flickr

The Panther
ImageP1100621 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100623 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100625 by Al, on Flickr

View north
ImageP1100626 by Al, on Flickr

Boggy ground
ImageP1100631 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100632 by Al, on Flickr

Head of Loch na h-Oidhche
ImageP1100634 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn an Eoin
ImageP1100636 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100638 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100639 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100641 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100642 by Al, on Flickr

By this time it was after 4pm and evident that we were not going to get back to our starting point this day. I quite fancied camping on the wee sandy beach at Loch a'Bhealach on the other side of the mountani, although wasn't sure we'd get there before darkness fell - Baosbheinn is a big and long hill with significant ascents and descents along the way. It also has some impressive west facing cliffs off Sgorr Dubh. We followed a trail along the ridge and reached the flat summit of Baosbheinn. The views were astounding - layer upon layer of mountains to the north and east, the sea stretching away to the west. "Why don't we camp up here?" I suggested. It was dry and flat, soft and mossy under foot and there was not a breath of wind - seemed ideal. Apart from the fact that I'd never pitched this tent at altitude or been in it in any significant winds :shock: The forecast hadn't suggested we were in for nocturnal storms, so why not go for it.

Summit Baosbheinn
ImageP1100645 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100649 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100659 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100661 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100668 by Al, on Flickr

Fortunately there was a ready made supply of rocks to weigh the pegs down on the summit cairn :lol: We pitched up, made tea and settled down to watch the sun set. I'll let the pictures tell the story.

ImageP1100670 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100671 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100673 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100675 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100688 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100693 by Al, on Flickr

Af ter the sun dipped behind the horizon and the temperature dropped we snuck into the tent and huddled against the cold. All around were roaring stags on the different mountains. The moon rose bringing a white light to the night. Around 2am the wind got up and we lay awake wondering if the tent would stand up to a bit of battering. There was one dodgy moment when one of the walking poles collapsed and the back of the tent started to flap, but I nipped outside and fixed this and otherwise the tent performed brilliantly.

ImageP1100694 by Al, on Flickr

Dawn beckoned with a fiery glow in the east. We scrambled into warm jackets and went outside to witness the spectacle - if the sunset had been impressive the dawn was something else. The Eastern sky glowed yellow and red with the mountains - especially Liathach - blue against the skyline. As the sun rose the sky became lined with vivid pink clouds. I was reminded of Roy Batty's "Tears in Rain" monologue from Bladerunner -

I've... seen things... you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion; I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate... All those... moments... will be lost, in time, like tears... in... rain.

Well, I've seen dawn from the top of Baosbheinn over the Mountains of Torridon and I'm enriched by the experience. But I'll hold off dying just for the minute, thanks all the same :wink:

ImageP1100697 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100698 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100703 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100704 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100706 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100707 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100708 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100711 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100712 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100713 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100715 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100720 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100723 by Al, on Flickr

After the brilliance of the dawn faded, leaving a more prosaic skyline the surrounding hills seemed rather dull! We packed up and set off towards Ceann Beag and walking down the shoulder of that back into the boglands towards ben Alligin. A couple of hours had us back to the carpark - we cooked lunch in the tailgate of the car and enjoyed hot soup. What a great experience - this top of the mountain camping is getting under my skin :lol:

ImageP1100732 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1100737 by Al, on Flickr

(I stopped the GPS when we got back to the track, so mileage is lower than reality)
ImageP1100744 by Al, on Flickr

wizard.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

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Re: Magickal Night Atop the Wizard's Mountain

Postby rockhopper » Mon Oct 12, 2015 11:44 pm

Magic :thumbup: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: Bet you're both chuffed !
Spent many a holiday up here walking and cycling round these hills but not up them yet - sometime maybe.
Hard to beat a summit sunrise up here - cheers :)
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Re: Magickal Night Atop the Wizard's Mountain

Postby basscadet » Tue Oct 13, 2015 11:02 am

What beautiful sunsets - Lucky lucky :)

Look like they are worth a visit, but what isn't in Torridon? 8)
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Re: Magickal Night Atop the Wizard's Mountain

Postby mini1mini2 » Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:45 pm

Yous should be chuffed :clap: :clap: :clap: And rightly so :)
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Re: Magickal Night Atop the Wizard's Mountain

Postby Alteknacker » Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:11 pm

Absolutely brilliant! :clap: :clap: :clap:

I need to bite the bullet and take that giant step (lugging a great big heavy pack into the hills...!). No gain without pain I guess...
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Re: Magickal Night Atop the Wizard's Mountain

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:31 pm

Alteknacker wrote:Absolutely brilliant! :clap: :clap: :clap:

I need to bite the bullet and take that giant step (lugging a great big heavy pack into the hills...!). No gain without pain I guess...

Come on man - you can do it...mind you that wee tent only weighs 0.5kg, so not much pain involved :lol:
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Re: Magickal Night Atop the Wizard's Mountain

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:59 am

I knew I wasn't photogenic... :wink: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Baosbheinn seems even more exciting than BaE, shame we couldn't go for the whole traverse this time. But the mountain won't run away anywhere.
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